Monday, August 6, 2007

The Face of a Stranger - Anne Perry

This was my first read by Anne Perry. I had heard of her before but I only got really curious after Rosario started posting about her books and making them sound so interesting.

His name, they tell him, is William Monk, and he is a London police detective. His mirror reflects a face that women would like, but from the way people respond to him when he returns to the force, he senses that he has been more feared than loved.

The case Monk is given is particularly sensational one: the brutal murder of Major the Honourable Joscelin Grey, Crimean war hero and a popular man about town, in his rooms in fashionable Mecklenburg Square. It’s an assignment to make or break an investigator, for the exalted status of the victim puts any representative of the police in the precarious position of having to pry into a noble family’s secrets – and one made all the more difficult by the fact that Monk’s lost all his professional skills along with everything else. Suspecting that his superior, the wily Runcorn, hopes he will fail, he returns to a world where he cannot distinguish friend from foe, where he must grasp desperately for any clue to his own past and to the identity of the killer.

Slowly the darkness begins to lighten, as he recognizes traces of his forgotten life. The gentle beauty of a woman who seems to know him. The dangerous informers he tracks down in the city’s unsavory rookeries. The growing hostility from the dead man’s aristocratic family. The revulsion he feels when he enters the dead man’s rooms. And each new revelation lead’s Monk step by terrifying step to the answers he seeks but dreads to find.

The premise seemed a really interesting one, a man with amnesia tries to reconstruct his life and what he was without admitting to coworkers and family that he has lost his memory. Added to that is the fact that he is a police officer and is put in charge of a murder investigation as soon as he goes back to work.

It is as interesting to see Monk's investigation and it's development as it is to get to know him and his doubts about who he was before the accident. So there's quite a bit of introspection and self analisys in this book that I found very appealing as he tries to found out who he was by other people reactions.

The mystery is very well plotted and written. I would never have guessed what was behind it nor the murderer's motives. Rather than a general reason the murder is very much connected to the period of the time and Perry really brings to life that reality. It's fascinating to follow Monk through his investigation and uncover the clues that keep him, and us, guessing at the murder.

Another thing I greatly enjoyed was the set of secondary characters, especially Hester and Evans. I'm looking forward to start the next book in the series to see what awaits them in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Anne Perry is one of my favorite authors. I've read most of the Monk series, but only a few of the Pitt. One of my favorite series of Perry's is her WWI. There are only 4 books and I have book 4 waiting for me on the shelf. Can't wait to get to it. Good review.